In an interview for SEGA daily published today (6 February), the Vice President of the World Jewish Congress Robert Singer said he visited Bulgaria to hand over to the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov a petition signed by more than 176,000 people from around the world with a request to ban an annual neo-Nazi march planned for 17 February.
The so-called “Lukov march” is a commemorative mourning procession in memory of General Hristo Lukov, which since 2003 is held annually in Sofia, always in February. As a leader of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions (UBB), an organisation strongly influenced by Nazi ideology, Lukov is a controversial figure in Bulgaria’s history. Various non-governmental organizations and communities point to “Lukov march” as a neo-Nazi manifestation. The main organizer of the event is the Bulgarian National Union (BNS), close to VMRO (one of the three forces of the United Patriots, the junior coalition partner of Borissov’s GERB-led cabinet).
Speaking to SEGA journalist Svetoslav Terziev, Singer says:
“This is a neo-Nazi march. In our view he is not against the Jews, but against the democracy in Bulgaria, against the Bulgarian people. It usually attracts neo-Nazis from different countries. We know that this is a marginal phenomenon, that the Bulgarian people do not support it, and the government does not support it, that the mayor of Sofia has made efforts to ban it during the last three years, but it continues.”
Singer also said that the petition initiative is not from the Jewish organization but “from many other people”. Under the petition there are also signatures of citizens from Bulgaria. Judging by the names, the majority are not Jews, he said.
“For the first half of 2018, Bulgaria will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. In this position, the nation of Bulgaria will be looked to for leadership and to uphold the shared values of the European Union, including those of tolerance and the rejection of extremism and anti-Semitism.
“It would be anomalous for the country at the helm of the EU to permit a parade of torchlight-wielding, dark-clad supporters of a man and an ideology that epitomised the darkest period of 20th century”, the petition says.
As the visit of WJC CEO Robert Singer in Bulgaria continues, we are thankful for the commitment expressed by Bulgarian PM @BoykoBorissov towards positive relations with the Jewish community. Thank you! https://t.co/GfRDrGmzBc
— (((WJC))) (@WorldJewishCong) February 2, 2018